Tag Archives: blogging

What I learned from my 2015 blog stats

30 Jan

I like that WordPress compiles my stats and it’s a plus that I can post the summary.  It thrills me to learn people from 78 countries have viewed my blog in 2015!   I enjoy blogging and am glad that people are interested in reading it,   I’m pleased that I have followers.  And I always enjoy the comments.

Yes, I’m glad for the stats.  For they tell a story.  And what they told me this year was a surprise.  Although I was pleased to see the attention my blog is receiving, I was a bit appalled to realize how few posts I actually wrote last year!

I told myself, it’s because it was a year spent more by doing things than by writing about them.  It was a busy year.  However, upon more reflection I had to admit that I wish I had written about more of the things I was doing.  The blog is sort of like my diary–it provides me a record of  what I do and what I think.  It also provides reflection and learning for me.  There were many times I thought of something I could write about, but I just didn’t take to time to do so.  I gave myself the excuse–I don’t have wi-if here.  Yet, I could have written the draft and posted later when an online connection was available.

And although I was busy, there were lots of times that I could have written.  So, I’m hoping that this year I will write more.  My church (my ‘church search’ post is currently in draft form) had a sermon relating to “more” for a New Year resolution,  I like that idea.  Instead of saying I will write so many post and then fall short, just resolve to do more.

As always. I welcome feedback back and comments on all my posts.  Have any of you had any surprises when reviewing your stats?

 

Help for learning Spanish

7 May

Here is the Spanish post I promised.  The one that has taken a different direction than my usual Spanish posts.  (If you have read very many of my posts you will find that I change direction quite often.)  The direction is different, because this Spanish post will be written in English.

I won’t be writing the post in Spanish because I just can’t cover this material with my current Spanish skills  (notice I didn’t say my lack of Spanish–I’m still working at having a positive self-image).  I am going to tell of some of the different ways that help me  learn the language.

The best way would be to live near Spanish speakers, but there aren’t any living near me.  Another way, if one had the time or the money would be to take a Spanish class at the university or on CD’s.  But that isn’t a option for me at present.

I found, instead,  a small informal class that meets weekly at our local library.  We visit  sites on the internet and are slowly learning.  The following are the sites we use most often:

www.123teachme.com  This site is filled with Spanish courses, tests, games, and other resources.  We each progress at our own level at home, then do some of the lessons in class.  We frequently use the ‘English to Spanish’ and the ‘Spanish to English’ translator.

www.spanishdict.com  Although, not filled with as much content as the Teach Me site, this one has a translator with audio, Word of the Day, a featured article and common words in both English and Spanish.

http://en.childrenslibrary.org/  We use this site to read children’s books in Spanish.  We select ‘Read Book’.  When the page appears  we select set the language for “Spanish”and select ‘Short Books’.  Some books are in both Spanish and English, which is helpful.  Some are in Spanish and other languages and others only in Spanish.  We have to pick and choose to find the ones that are best for our beginning level.

From http://www.gutenberg.org we have been reading two books until we progress to a place where the language is beyond us.  Occasionally we return to the site and are pleasantly surprised by how many more of the words we have learned.  The two books we read are  “An Elementary Spanish Reader” and  “A First Spanish Reader”

In addition too the class and these sites I like to find Spanish blogs, newspapers, and websites.  Some of these I return to again and again.  I am always looking for new ones that are not just lessons, but actual writings of people posting on their blogs.  Ones that aren’t too hard for me.  I like it best when I can get the gist of the article without looking up the translation of words too often!  From my college Spanish class and in our little informal one, we find that we can often understand the story even if we don’t know all the words.

These are some I have found helpful:

www.spanishspanish.com  Lots of information on this site.  Audio, flash cards, vocabulary, grammar, textbooks, etc.

homeschoolspanishonline.com  As the name indicates, this is a home school Spanish course.  Lots of material, music, and some stories in Spanish

When I visited www.marisamontes.com today I learned that the author has died.  The site is being kept as a memorial to her.  I click on Links” and choose  ‘Ónline  Resources for Children’.  This displays a page with several websites for Spanish.

One newspaper that I continue to try reading from time to time is elsur.mx.  It is from the Yucatan Peninsula.  As with the books, I seem to get the gist of the articles.  I still need to translate many words, but my progress, though slow, encourages me.

Most generally I find sites through internet searches.  I try to remember to bookmark the good ones I find.   I have found that using different words in my search brings up different sites.  I’ve yet to find the best words for what I want, although I still seem to stumble onto some good sites at times.

Sometimes I find a blog I like from a search, yet when I go back to the main site page, I have a hard time finding the blog.  It seems, from what I can gather, that some of the Spanish blogs are connected to a main site page.  I suppose I just haven’t learned how to navigate well enough yet.

But it is frustrating.  Today I stumbled onto a blog I liked and noted–but sadly didn’t bookmark– the site.  I thought, www.hola.com, easy name, I’ll remember that.  And I did remember it, but when I went to the site later, I found it doesn’t seem to be the site of the person’s blog I had read.  It seems instead a collection of various writers, maybe bloggers?  I’ve yet to find the one which I was looking at earlier and wanted to mention in this post.  If my Spanish understanding was sufficient, I believe the blogger was a retired woman who visited different places and made videos of them.  It was a video that I watched.  The whole ‘hola’ site has a tremendous amount of material, but hopefully I will stumble onto the one I liked again sometime.

While searching www.hola.com I found another video that was interesting.  It was a video about art and food.  And there was something about the hands.  When I realized I had to have the translation it meant a trip to www.123teachme.com.  I was surprised to learn it said árt and gastronomy go hand in hand’.  I also learned that Reino Unido mean the UK.  It was good to be clear about the content of the video.  But I was still happy that I got at least part of it on my own.  I know I will return to this site over and over.  From the Food section, with help from 123TeachMe, I also learned that ‘paso a paso’ means step by step.

In trying to find a blog about gardens written in Spanish, I found this site  www.buenastareas.com/ensayos/Jardin-De-Ni%C3%B1os/6681595.html    I have just copied the whole link.  I’m afraid if I try to just enter the main site I won’t be able to find the article again.  Although I didn’t read very much of it, I plan to return.

Another way I learn is by writing in Spanish.  In our class we are now each writing a paragraph something about our week and then reading each other’s in class.  Reading, listening and writing Spanish really helps me.

So I stumble along in this blog, in most of my Spanish posts, writing in my own level of Spanish.  Struggling but keeping on for some reason.  I feel, like a member of our class who said, “I really don’t know why I want to learn Spanish, I just do”.  And really, do we always need the ‘why’ of something?  Can’t we just do it because we enjoy it?

 

Customizing blog apprearance

4 Nov

As you can see, I’m still working on the look of my blog. I just didn’t care for some of the Sight theme format, so I changed back to the Bueno theme.

In all my playing around with themes I found out how to add widgets, customize themes, font, color, and many other useful stuff.  I’ve learned that the different themes have different built in atributes, many which can be customized.  I changed back to Bueno promarily because I like way it displays my posts–the entire new post, followed by the other recent posts.  I prefer it to the Sight method of displaying only a portion of each post.  When I changed back to Bueno I was also able to spell out my full title with the tagline appearing above instead of behind the title.

I’ve found out the there are different places on my dashboard where I can change different things.  For instance, there is a Header tab under Appearance, which seemed to me the logical place to resize the title.  But it isn’t.  I had to choose Custom Design under Appearance.  From there I could change the font–which is how I changed the size–and the color of the title.  However, I had to go to Settings, General to change the spelling of the title.  The Header tab is where I can change the title color.   The Background (under Apprearance) is where, experimenting to find out what it did, I produced the green color.  I also choose gray for something, but can’t remember what or the tab from where I changed it.  I haven’t noticed any gray on the post, so maybe it was something I changed back again.  Images can also be added both in background and in headers, but I haven’t experimented enough with images yet.

I really haven’t decided whether to keep the current color scheme or not.  Once I got the title size and color changed, Bueno was still displaying the dates and the search box in red, which didn’t go at all with the purple title.  So I again experimented changing colors.  This is what I currently came up with.  The green is a little bright, but it is eye catchig and goes well with purple.    I’m still expermenting with different fonts for the title.

I’ve tried learning some from Support and the Forums, but mostly I have just experiemtned.  It anoys me that I still haven’t learned how to preview the public view of my blog from the dashboard.  When I make some changes it lets me preview, but not others.  It is very frustrating to have to log back in to the site just to see a change.  I know it surely must be possible to view from the dashboard, but I haven’t found it yet.  I’m glad that I have found out how to preview posts before publishing them, So much of this blog is a learning work in pogress!

Working out the bugs

23 Oct

As you can see, I’ve changed my blog theme.  But it isn’t quite like I want yet.  I don’t like the description of my blog placed behind the blog title.  I would much rather have it located under the title.  It’s really distracting as it is.  So I’m trying to fix that, but no luck yet.  One help topic I opened suggested a Custom Design.  Unfortunately that requires I know html or CSS.  I don’t know either.  But since that is the only topic I’ve found so far that addresses the issue, I’ve started a htm tutorial.  Wonder how long that will take me?

I just discovered one really strange thing.  When I preview this post using my laptop my description tagline is displayed as the above paragraph describes.  But when I logged on with my iPad it is displayed under my blog title.  I’ll have to check it out once I log out then just go to site as a reader, not signed in.  If the description  is under the title, then I will have to decide if I still want to learn html.

Another thing I haven’t yet figured out is how to add the selection tabs across the top of the page under my title.  The theme demo showed seven tabs, but only two are presently displayed on my blog–Home and About.  However, the reader can click on a topic in the Category section in the box to the right to access posts in that particular category.  I just wish I could put them at the top of the page.  One difficulty I’m finding  is that I’ve yet to learn what these tabs are called.  It seems the success of any search is to enter the correct word.  I seem to find things by much trial and error.  As I preview this post before publishing it, I’m wondering if the tabs across the top are Pages.  I will have to check that out.

I have addressed these issues in the WordPress forum.  Hopefully I will get some help there.  If any of you reading this has the answers, please let me know.

I still need to place a blog photo under under my title.  Since I’m interested in so many different things which this blog covers, I’m having some difficulty in selecting one.  .Maybe I need to make a collage and take a picture of that! (If I knew how to add a smile symbol, it would be here.)

Otherwise, I’m pleased with the new theme.   I have been successful changing several things to customize the page.  One is the color scheme–I love the title in purple (my favorite color).  I’m glad, too,  I was able to change my title to match my domain name.  I’m also pleased that I found out how to add the Widget where readers can follow my blog via email.   And I like the Category header above each post title.  I think the search box in also a good addition.  I’m not sure yet if the comment tab is best at the top or the bottom of the post.  I guess I will try it at the top and see how it goes.  What do you readers think?

Well, at least changing my blog theme is keeping me busy.  It’s really a good thing I enjoy learning new things or I would really be frustrated.  I realize more and more as time goes on that blogging is as much a learning experience as the things I’m writing about.  But for the most part I do enjoy it.  I just have to keep working out the bugs.  I just hope this work in process blog won’t be too frustrating for my readers.

Computers and blog technology

25 Jul

I have finally learned how to add tags to a published post.  I had tried several times with no results.  Even read the wordpress how-to but still couldn’t seem to grasp it.  So thought maybe I needed to do it on the laptop instead of IPad.  Well, after playing around with it awhile, I succeeded!  I think (hope) I will remember how and will be able to do it from my IPad too. (Note-No luck with the IPad).

I have also learned that the ‘Preview’ button takes me to a page where the post I am working on is displayed as you, the viewers, see it.  When I found that, I was like “DUH”.   Sometimes I feel really stupid.  But at least now I know.  And it is amazing because even though I proofread the pages I’m typing on, I usually find mistakes on the View page.  Sometimes I see a comma needs to be inserted.  Other times, I read it over and decide it doesn’t need one.  Often, while reading I think of another way to say what I want, or another word that would better convey what I want to say.  Kind of like getting feedback from someone else.  Sometimes, I come up with something to add.  I now switch back and forth from typing to viewing, correcting and rewriting as I go.  After some trial and error, I have found I do best correcting as I go, paragraph by paragraph.  If I try to read it all, I tend to forget what needs corrected and have to go back over.  Then, when I have finally finished editing, I reread the whole post, checking for total content flow.  I’m so glad I finally noticed the Preview button and was curious enough to see what it did.  For being such a simple concept, I find it an invaluable tool!

When I think of technology my first thought is usually computers.  We first got a computer in the 80’s, mostly because one of the teachers recommended it for my son.  Ir was a Comodore 128.  The latest model.  It had drives for both the larger old (floppy) floppy disks as well as the newer solid smaller disks.  It was amazing!    We weren’t on the web, of course.  The teacher told us something about broadband, but that was too advanced for me.  We were just thrilled at all it could do.  And of course we loved the games.  We subscribed to a computer magazine which listed programs that we could type in and run.  I never had much time for that by my oldest son did.  I worked with it when I had time and was able to created a spreadsheet to do my books, which saved so much time!

I became one of the few parents who had any computer skills.  Everyone thought I knew so much.  I just kept telling them they shouldn’t be afraid to try it.  If you make a mistake, you can learn something.  I’ve learned at lot from some of my stupid mistakes-and not just with computers!

My son learned to program computers and is doing that today.  He kept up and advanced with technology.  I did too a bit until around the turn of the century.  Then I had other things going and technology wasn’t that important.  But it resurfaced, briefly later.  I applied and was offered a job that needed someone with computer skills.  I was amazed (appalled really) that offices and the people working in them still wasn’t up to date on computers.  But I was able to use my computer experience plus my love of learning and teaching in that job.

Since then, however, I just haven’t had the inclination to keep up with technology.  When I purchased my laptop, I wasn’t up to date and had to research to find what I wanted.  But I do like it.  A pretty dark blue Toshiba.  We call it ‘my blue cpu’.  I still find the mouse pad very sensitive.  I am always touching it and the page goes crazy.  But I am learning.

Another technology I haven’t kept up with is the smart phones.  My grandson is always telling me about the latest and what it can do.  He also tells me about my phone (Iph 3) and all it could do that I’m not using it for.  I tell him I just want a phone.  Then he reminds me that I used to think texting was silly, didn’t ever think I would use it.  Now I use it 95 percent of the time!   So I have to smile and tell him ‘I know’.   I do enjoy the camera on it.  I am finding more and more uses for it.  In my last art lesson, my teacher showed me how to take a screen picture.  That’s cool!

Most of the time when my family tries to show me something technological I have to have them slow down.  I need to be showed, not just told.  And ideally it would be better if I could read about the subject too.  That is how I learn.  But don’t expect me to learn by looking at pictures without words!  I hate it when the instructions to put something together comes only with pictures.  I never can understand how to do it unless everything is shown.  I don’t know why they can’t tell me how to do it and show the picture.   My youngest son does best with just the pictures, but not me.

I have also learned how to post photos in FB.  I just don’t do it often enough to remember how in between times.  And I succeeded in finally figuring out how to change my profile pic.  My grandkids say that Grandma is on FB but really doesn’t do it.  And they are right.  I am on it mostly to see friend and family photos.  And of course now to advertise my blog!

According to my blog stats most visits are links from FB.  I don’t understand enough about FB to know if it is from people who see my FB posts or from a search.  I know a person can search FB, but don’t know exactly how that works.  I often see business websites with “visit us on facebook’.  I guess there is usually a link to click, but don’t think I’ve ever followed it.

Well my day beckons.  Going to be another hot one here.  So dry that the trees are dying.  The brown grass crackles under my feel.  I have bee watering in the early mornings some.  I’ve heard it is better to water at evening, but it has still been so hot then.  It seems to me the plants need the refreshing in the morning to make it through the day.

Random thoughts of this week

20 Jul

As I drove to the city today a lot of thoughts were going through mind–things I wanted to write in my blog..   I found myself wishing I had a tape recorder with me, so I would be able to post them when I got home.  But I didn’t have one, so hope to remember at least some of them.

I still seem to be in the writing or communication mode.  If I get this and another post I am working on completed by tomorrow that will be five posts this week!  A record, one I probably won’t keep up as I seem to go in spurts.   And according to my blog stats this week was a record high for the number of views my blog received.

I’ve been thinking how everything is really all connected.  I noticed a strange thing recently.  I was staying at a home that has enamel sinks.  One was really stained.  I wondered if some Comet and scouring would clean it.  Then one morning while brushing my teeth, I noticed that there were clean spots on the sink.  I realized it was where my toothpaste had dripped.  So I tried rubbing other areas with some toothpaste and it did seem to clean it.  But it cleaned best when the toothpaste sat on the spot a bit. This triggered a memory that I have heard, that using too much toothpaste can take the enamel off our teeth.  Well, it makes sense when I think about it.  I guess enamel is enamel.  I’ve never been a science whiz, but as I understand it our body’s are composed of minerals, etc.

Another thing I was thinking about was the title for this post.  One of my first post’s title is Musings for today.  So I wondered if I should have a different title for each post.  Then I thought that instead I think I will have some post titles that I use over and over.  Since I’m interested in so many different things, some people may like to view just certain content in my posts.  Using the same titles will be a way for you, my readers, to choose those posts you most enjoy.  I don’t know enough about blogs to know if this is common or not.  But I remember my sons telling me “it’s your blog, you can do what you want with it”.  I like that.

You have probably realized by now-at least if you have been reading my posts for awhile-that I’m an individualist.  (Some people would call it stubborn or worse.)  But the fact is I like to do things my way.  As I write that it sounds like a bad things.  And it can be if I would be pushy about it.  But I think (and hope) that I also give others the same option–to do things their way.  So it seems to me that not being afraid to do or try something, to be a little ‘different’ can be a good thing.  Someone mentioned today that God made us all different and yet we try so hard to all be the same.  We talked about how much better it would be if we could all except ourselves and others as we are and treasure the differences.

Someone brought up the movie about Temple Grandin.  It is a true story about an girl/woman that has an autism condition and became famous, She insisted she could understand how it feels to be a cow and experience harsh treatment from humans.  She advocated for humane treatment of animal and demonstrated alternative methods of accomplishing tasks involving animals.  Many of her methods are used around the world today.  She didn’t let her ‘difference’ stop her.  I like that.

You know it’s been hot when it’s 93 degrees and it feel nice!  So different from several weeks of over 100, and many days with high humidity too.  I can take the heat a LOT better than the humidity.  Humidity just saps my energy level and I feel I can hardly breathe.  I guess with so much air conditioning around everywhere it is hard for my body to adjust to the heat.   But so glad we have the a/c!

Today, again, I noticed the beauty of nature. When I went outside this morning I felt the cool breeze on my cheek.  On my drive  I loved to see the huge bales of hay in the fields.  The few spotty rains we’ve had lately have done an amazing job of greening up some areas.  As I look out the window just now I see the leaves blowing in the wind, casting shadows one place and then another.  And I wonder is it possible to draw in a way to show the breeze?  Even if it is, it would only be just a copy, never as good as feeling the real thing.  But still stirring, if drawn well.

Then again, who’s to say what is drawing well?  Different things speak to different people.  To me it seems we need to find what stirs our hearts and then fill our life with it.  So what stirs you?

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